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As a group texting tool that functions similarly to traditional online chatrooms, GroupMe allows users to create defined “groups” that all recipients know who sends and receives the message. It is a very powerful and beneficial tool that overcomes a common drawback of the “regular” group text, which is that any replies are sent only to the sender. GroupMe organizes and identifies the often chaotic world of group texts. Another advantage is that it keeps the simple SMS format. In other words, there is no application required, so it can fit on either smartphones or “regular” phones. All that is required is a simple confirmation test.

Recently, GroupMe launched its first attempt to monetize its service, adding “Featured Groups” to the service to draw in advertising dollars. This new service is available on its iPhone and Android applications, providing an opportunity for brands to create and engage in group messaging conversations about them. Fans and users will be able to create groups under those featured brands and opt in to receive news, offers, contests, and reminders. From a marketing viewpoint, it is quite an appealing option for brand marketers to interact with the audiences.

These brands could be TV shows, artists, and events of select launch partners. For example, the rock band Bon Jovi could engage fans by sending messages, answering fans’ questions, posting special photos while fans could get bonus content and the opportunity to chat with the member of the band. GroupMe provides a great utility to amplify and connect the habits of text messaging communication among the audiences. On the other hand, it also could create small groups of people from a large network and allow you to talk to them in a more private way. That way you can have more control on the messages and information you send.

According to the co-founder Jared Hecht, “When you look at how brands have traditionally used social media, it’s about broadcasting. … What we have here are real life groups of people that engage around specific content on a regular basis. I think this is the first time where brands have the ability to intuitively and in a value-add way tap into those relationships on a real-time basis.” He sees this type of interaction as one of the most engaging ways we’ve seen to-date in the social media space.

Although the idea of group texts is not unique to GroupMe-among other services, Brightkite and Fast Society have taken that plunge, GroupMe seems to have attracted the most attention so far. However, there are some disadvantages such as no confirmation of delivery and GroupMe has to ensure that only needed people are added to avoid to be abused. In short, how to solve these problems to help people in both their personal and business lives would be the next critical issue for GroupMe. The startup plans to grow and expand via sponsored groups and advertising. Will this move, the new business model, succeed in generating the big money? Stay tuned.

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